Advantages of Drip Irrigation


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A presentation on the advantages of using drip irrigation in agriculture by Eli Matan, chief agronomist at Netafim.

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  • Population growth The world population, which has already reached 7 billion, is increasing at a rapid pace. According to estimates, the earth’s population is expected to surpass 9 billion* people by 2050 . This places unprecedented strain on the world’s finite natural resources of water, land and energy . This also makes it more difficult to address the urgent challenge of meeting the growing worldwide demand for food . This is not a future abstract issue, but rather a current painful reality . (* 9.2 billion according to “most likely” estimate of UN Report from November, 2011; “high projection” of 10.5 billion: ) (* 9.3 billion current US Census Bureau statistics: )
  • Water supply We all learn at school that water makes up more than two-thirds of the worlds surface. Yet what we don’t often realize is that : Only 2.5% of the earth’s total water is fresh ,* less than 1% of all freshwater resources on earth is usable ,** out of that small amount of usable freshwater, about 70% is currently being used by agriculture .*** Water supply, while underdeveloped, is limited (though desalination, reuse and storage can increase available water dramatically ). Also unfortunately, climate change is causing many areas to dry out; within the next generation, the number of people living in water-stressed countries is set to increase times six . The way we use water in agriculture will have to change on a massive scale if current and future food production is to keep up with worldwide population growth and global climate changes . (* The total volume of water on Earth is about 1.4 billion km3. The volume of freshwater resources is around 35 million km3, or about 2.5 percent of the total volume. Source: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) ) (** The total usable freshwater supply for ecosystems and humans is about 200 000 km3 of water - less than 1 percent of all freshwater resources. Source: UNEP (*** How the world uses freshwater: • about 70 percent for irrigation • about 22 percent for industry • about 8 percent for domestic use Source: World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP) )  
  • Energy supply Fossil energy is currently one of the most sensitive resources; in the past few years, we have seen extreme shifts in oil prices – from all-time record highs to periodic lows . This price instability will further motivate the world to develop alternative energy resources. Indeed, the world will need to find alternatives to traditional fossil fuels on a massive scale if the global economy is to thrive . Unfortunately, most potential substitutes compete for already limited water and land resources . The world’s energy needs will be much greater in 2030, yet fossil fuels, upon which the world still depends, are finite (IAEA 2008 (
  • Arable land Arable land on planet earth is finite : Of the world's total land area of approximately ~150 million km2 (16 X the area of the US), the vast majority is not suitable for agriculture Nearly all of the world's productive land is already exploited (for example, in Asia, nearly 80% of potentially arable land is now under cultivation ) Arable land is also declining, due to desertification, climate changes, nature disasters, etc . Most of the unexploited land is either too steep, too wet, too dry or too cold for agriculture Land use : arable land: 10.57% permanent crops: 1.04% other: 88.39% (2005 ) CIA, The World Factbook Area : total: 510.072 million sq km land: 148.94 million sq km water: 361.132 million sq km note: 70.9% of the world's surface is water, 29.1% is land CIA, The World Factbook
  • Food Supply As the global population rises rapidly, there is huge pressure on food production . In 2008 we witnessed a global peak in food prices (certain crops, commodities and food products), which caused political and economical instability and social unrest in both poor and developed nations. After a subsequent drop off, food prices in July 2011 have returned to close to 2008 peak levels .* The ability to secure affordable food is crucial for global growth and social stability .  In short, food security and food self-sufficiency are vital social and political priorities . (* Global prices of food in July 2011 remain significantly higher than their levels in July 2010 and close to the 2008 peak levels, with the World Bank Food Price Index increasing by 33 percent in the last year. (World Bank Food Price Watch, August 2011 ) ) ( Despite dipping marginally in September by 1% and settling at 5% below its February peak, the food price index is still 19% above its September 2010 levels. (World Bank Food Price Watch, November 2011 ) )
  • Although surface irrigation, mainly flooding, results in a significant amount of wasted water and relatively lower crop yields compared to competing methods, it is by far the most common type of irrigation throughout the world, accounting for ~80% of total irrigated area . Drip irrigation accounts for only 4% (estimated) of total irrigated areas, while mechanized & sprinklers account for the remaining 17% (estimated ). As mentioned previously, agriculture is the no.1 consumer of fresh water, using about 70% of available water; therefore, when addressing water scarcity, agricultural irrigation is the place to start . The potential for irrigation market growth is still enormous, since 82% of the world's agricultural land is not irrigated at all . In order to fully address the world’s growing food security challenge, drip irrigation penetration needs to dramatically increase from less than 5% to double-digit share in the next few years .
  • Placing the sensor where it will get wet from irrigation is critical. In the west it seems common to see wetting areas only one foot in diameter. With such a small wetted area it is easy for a sensor to be placed where it will not get wet. The later in the growing season it seems the more problematic getting the sensor wet will become. For some reason it seems that the wetting area is much larger west of the Rocky Mountains.
  • Fertilization dosing systems in Netafim have gained momentum in the last two years, and have become an integral part of the company’s core business. More than 500 fertilization dosing systems have been installed in the last three years, with very good results: the growers are satisfied with the user friendly systems, allowing precise fertilization and absolute control of the EC and pH values. In addition, the systems are easy to install, and they reach the customer ready to operate, to facilitate installation and running in for the field technician. The systems undergo strict quality control, and are catalogued by serial number, to allow each system to be followed up after it leaves the factory.
  • Advantages of Drip Irrigation

    1. 1. Drip IrrigationDrip IrrigationAdvantagesAdvantagesBy Eli Matan - Agronomist1
    2. 2. 8
    3. 3. Drip irrigation changes the desertDrip irrigation changes the desert9
    4. 4. Drip IrrigationDrip IrrigationIrrigates the plant and not the soil.Deliver the water by a pipe (small diameter) with“smart holes”- Drippers. The water flow rate islow and uniform.Every plant gets the same.10
    5. 5. The Characteristics of Drip Irrigationsystem:1. The water goes out from a point source.2. The volume of the wetted soil is a small & restricted.3. The root system, is very dense and full of activerootlets.5. Smaller root system: advantage and disadvantage4. A very frequent application is a common option.5. Fertilization through the system (fertigation) is veryconvenient.11
    6. 6. Efficiency of irrigating in closed systems -Efficiency of irrigating in closed systems -pressurized irrigationpressurized irrigationSprinklers above canopy – average irrigation efficiency: 60% - 80%Sprinkler efficiency during day with slight wind: 60% - 65%Sprinkler efficiency during hours without wind: 70% - 75%Sprinkler efficiency during nighttime:80%.Efficiency of irrigation with mini-sprinklers in orchards is80%.Efficiency of drip irrigation: 95%.12
    7. 7. Field crops- different methodsirrigationRain fedRain fedFlood furrowFlood furrowPivot sprinklersPivot sprinklersDripDrip14
    8. 8. 15
    9. 9. Efficient root zoneEfficient root zone16
    10. 10. 17
    11. 11. Universal solutionUniversal solution• Unlimited geometry. optimal land use.• Suitable for all soil types.18
    12. 12. Soil type19
    13. 13. Differences inDifferences in Water SpacingWater Spacingaccording toaccording to soil typesoil typeHeavyHeavyHeavyHeavy MediumMediumMediumMedium LightLightLightLight20
    14. 14. Field crops- different methodsfertilization21
    15. 15. Netafim’s new line of dosingsystemsSometimes the main difference betweena poor looking field and a healthy looking fieldIs the fertigation unit22
    16. 16. Broad cast fertigation23
    17. 17. Nutrigation24
    18. 18. All of Them Wet All or a Great Part of the Soil.Soil ManagementIrrigation Systems which encourage weeds are:- Flood Irrigation- Furrow Irrigation- Overhead Sprinklers- Under Canopy Sprinklers (Partly)25
    19. 19. Universal solutionUniversal solution• Steep terrains.• Compatible to all crops.26
    20. 20. • Use of Low quality water- Foliar absorption of saltsand leaf burn is avoided, high frequency irrigation= lower saltcontent, salts from the drip wetted area are continuouslyleached from the active root zone• Chemigation- labor and cost saving, precise application toroot zone, concentration and amount can be adapted to plantneeds, according to growth stage27
    21. 21. What is the big difference?1. In flood and sprinkling Irrigation the water aremoving in a Piston character, pushing the Airand Nutritions away.2. In drip irrigation the water are moving in anOnion shape. The Air and Nutritions staysnear by the roots.28
    22. 22. 29
    23. 23. Drip irrigation- disadvantages.• High price: expensive equipment.• Filtration is a must.• A lot of work at the beginning and the end ofseason.• Can not be used for plant germination unlessdistance between drips is short (price, flow rate).• Limited reserved water in soil - mistakes can befatal.31
    24. 24. LightTemperatureHumidityCO2Water &Nutrients32
    25. 25. Porosity & Soil water statusPorosity & Soil water status ST- all porous are full withwater. FC- water only in CapillaryPorous. WP- water within balksWater tension increases asmoisture declines.33
    26. 26. Soil moisture regimesSoil moisture regimes• Saturation - Maximum moisture content - NoOxygen!!!• Field Capacity - Moisture level after drainageEnds. High moisture & Oxygen.• Wilting Point - Moisture level at which sunflowerplant wilts.• Water Holding Capacity - water contentbetween FC & WP.34
    27. 27. Monitoring & control principlesMonitoring & control principles• How muchHow much andand whenwhen to irrigateto irrigate• What kind ofWhat kind of toolstools we have to getwe have to getthe right decisionthe right decision35
    28. 28. 06121824303642482 4 6 8 10 12 14dayssoilwatercontents-cm/100cmofsoilDrainageField capacityPlant water useWilting pointFCAWPWPWhen to irrigateWhen to irrigate??????39
    29. 29. Flood irrigation40
    30. 30. Sprinkles irrigation41
    31. 31. Drip irrigation42
    32. 32. Orchards43
    33. 33. 44Golden Delicious, 85 ton/ha. Ein Zivan, Israel44
    34. 34. Nectarine- 50 ton/ha, Yiftach, Israel45
    35. 35. Apple- Starking, 70 ton/ha, Manara, Israel46
    36. 36. 47Table grapes, Thompson seedless, 55 ton/haLachis Israel47
    37. 37. 48Pomegranate, 50 ton/ha. Magal , Israel48
    38. 38. Field crops49
    39. 39. Corn50
    40. 40. Onion51
    41. 41. Potato52
    42. 42. Carrot53
    43. 43. ProcessingTomato54
    44. 44. Cabbage55
    45. 45. Lettuce56
    46. 46. Greenhouse57
    47. 47. •Tomato58
    48. 48. Strawberry59
    49. 49. Cucumber60
    50. 50. Pepper61
    51. 51. Water melon62